Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year! Summer holidays, beach trips, family meals, new year parties… I love that there is always something fun happening, always something good to eat and the freedom of knowing that the past year is behind you and the best is yet to come!
A few years ago I was working in the weight loss industry and my boss at the time had a big sign made up that read “Christmas is a holiday from your work, not your health”. This was placed up on the wall right at the entrance where the members of the weight loss centre could see it clearly.
I really connected to the idea of that statement and every time the silly season comes around I remember that just because it’s ‘Christmas’, it doesn’t mean I have to become a couch potato and eat everything that I’m offered. In fact, the years where I have done that has left me returning to work feeling sluggish, bloated and my pants feeling tight… I would have such a large break from my exercise over the holidays that I struggled to find the motivation to get back into it and before I knew it I was back into the swing of life, working and parenting with ‘no time’ on my hands to make healthy lifestyle choices. Does this sound like you?
I now have a different perspective on Christmas holidays. This is my chance to get back into good habits. Yes, I enjoy good food and relaxation, but this is the time of the year when work and volunteer commitments are taking a break and when life, for me, FINALLY slows down! I like to take the opportunity of having more time to get back into running if I’ve started to get slack, write up some meal plans for the family for the next few weeks and engage in family activities that involve moving our bodies! Walks, bike rides, swimming, bush walking, rock climbing, running under a sprinkler or kicking a ball around at the oval are all fun, bonding things we can do this holiday season to stay active and unwind, all at the same time.
Here are my 5 health pointers for making the most of your holiday season:
1. Set your new years resolutions
Some people believe that this is a waste of time. I disagree, better to aim for 100 and get 50 then aim for nothing and get nothing… I like to think about the year ahead, what I’d like to achieve and how I’m going to achieve it. My posts in January will be all about effective goal setting and strategies for making positive lifestyle changes – nothing like a new year to inspire you to be a better you! Stay tuned!
2. Try a new sport or activity
With your time off, why not give something a go that you’ve never tried before. You might really enjoy swimming but how would you know if you don’t try it? Maybe you should take the family out to the bush and go for a hike through the national parks or get a group of friends together to play football or another team sport. Maybe it’s just as simple as getting out of bed in the morning and having the time to put on your sneakers and take a brisk walk in the refreshing morning air. You might even like it!
3. Waste not, want not is a myth
Don’t be afraid of throwing excess food away. For some of us growing up, throwing away perfectly good food is a carnal sin and just isn’t done. Let me offer an opinion. Whether you throw out food or just eat it, you are wasting it. How, I here you say? Well… it’s either wasted in the bin or it’s wasted on your bottom. I know where I’d rather it go, and it’s not my bottom. Eating food just because it’s there will not be good for your health and will result in those few extra kilos making that top button on your favourite pair of jeans a little harder to do up.
4. Don’t detox
One of the most common things health conscious people like to do after their Christmas/New Year feast and booze up is detox. There is no scientific research to back up this kind of dieting and in most cases they can be very dangerous. Don’t detox, just get back into making healthy food choices again – if you need help to know what this means have a browse of my site and you’ll find heaps of helpful tips and advice.
5. Drink water regularly
There is research to suggest that people who drink 500ml of water before a meal consume less energy than those who don’t. This is a great way to curb your appetite slightly as well as ensure you don’t wake up with a nasty hangover from dehydration. A good tip is to alternate an alcoholic drink with a glass of water through out the night. This will keep you both hydrated and cohesive!
So Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I look forward to chatting about healthy eating and exercise advice in 2011.